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Resilient austerity? National economic discourses before the pandemic in the European Union

By Tiago Moreira Ramalho, Tom Massart, Amandine Crespy


Politics & Policy




After the euro crisis, politicization patterns led the institutions of the European Union to gradually redirect the bloc's socioeconomic governance away from austerity. It is less clear whether the erosion of austerity was mirrored in national economic discourses. To fill this gap, this article provides a quantitative and qualitative analysis of parliamentary budget debates in four country cases: France, Germany, the Netherlands, and Portugal, from 2014 to 2020. The results show contrasting patterns of “fiscal discipline” frame resilience in national economic discourse in ways consistent with intergovernmental bargaining around the pandemic recovery agenda. Moreover, shared preoccupations relating to investment in the economy, social inequality, and climate change emerge as major threads shaping budget making. These findings suggest an increasingly integrated multi-level system of economic governance and call for further investigation into the links between ideas shaping EU economic governance and economic discourses in member states.

Mis à jour le 9 juillet 2024